Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sister Ball Arrives in Maceio!!!!

Ola Mom!
Today I arrived to the mission field here in beautiful Maceio. I'm not sure when my actual P-Day is either, but President and Sister Gonzaga are letting us e-mail our families so you can sleep tonight :). Getting ready to come here was so unreal. I still can't believe I'm in Maceió right now! Yesterday we had orientation for the campo all day and I said goodbye to so many people. Last night, Sister Barker and I spent almost two hours saying goodbye to one of our instructors, Irmã Débora, during packing time. She's the one that I asked you to look up housing for. Well I need it too, but she's hopeful of getting into BYU sometime in the near future. How fun would that be! She's one of the most thoughtful people I know so it was tough to say goodbye. But other than that, I was surprised at how excited I was to leave the CTM! I absolutely loved it there, but I was ready to leave and didn't even know it until the time to take off got nearer and nearer. 
This morning, we left the CTM at 4:30am for Maceió. It was early but I wasn't too tired. That will soon change! We had a negative 40 minute layover in Brasilia and when we flew into Maceió, I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! All of the sudden, everything was so green! I got so excited as it hit me that now, it's the real deal. I'm here in Maceió to serve real people and be a real representative of Christ! I'm already in love with it here. In the words of Elder Draper, an elder from my CTM district, "it's like the beauty of heaven compared to São Paulo." and Sao Paulo is wonderful!
When we all went to get our  bags, we saw our mission president and his wife so excited to see us. They're wonderful! Sister Gonzaga is so fun, just as one of my friend's told me who lives here, and President Gonzaga is so kind. We went to the mission home, ate a snack, got to know the president, got to know each other, and are now about to eat lunch, the biggest meal of the day. It's been fun and very laid back. I'm excited to meet my companion later today and hope I'll be able to keep up with everything. I love you and thank you for all the thoughts and prayers! They are felt for sure. Know that I'm safe and having a wonderful time so far. I couldn't be in a better place that Maceió. Tchau!

Com amor,
Sister Brianna Ball

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I Wish I Had a Mango Tree

So the cool thing is, we actually do have a mango tree here. The fruit has just started growing, but I thought it was pretty exciting when we discovered that little nugget of knowledge. Mango trees are a lot bigger than I realized!
Okay, down to business. This past week was fantastic. I´m healthy again and life is good. My district and I decided to maximize how often we feel the Spirit through setting a couple goals. We are doing our best to speak Portugues as much as possible with English fasts and language goals. We also decided to set this goal--11 Discursos em 11 Dias. Every day, we all work on a talk that we´ll be able to use in the field for Sacrament meeting. It has increased our testimonies greatly!
This last Thursday, we went to the Polícia for fingerprinting and ran into a bunch of missionaries who had just gotten out into the field that we knew from the CTM. It was so good to see familiar faces and hear how they´re doing in the field. They basically said that the language is difficult and life is definitely different, but it is so worth every minute. They were all so happy!
Yesterday, a bunch of missionaries left for the field again, including many close friends, which now makes our district the "oldest." It´s so strange to think that by this time next week, I´ll be in Maceió, sharing the gospel with the people. Where did the time go? I´m incredibly excited!
On Sunday, we had a great devotional with a mission president from the area. He talked about just how blessed we are to be serving in this land. Brasil is being blessed by the Lord´s hand and miracles are happening everywhere. I truly love it here!
Some news for Aunt Michelle and Uncle Mark: there´s an elder here who will be going to Maceió with me named Elder Rossetta. He met Jess and said he´s an excellent missionary! His uncle is Jess´ mission president and they love him.
I´m out of time, and haven´t said nearly everything I wanted to but I´m getting kicked off. I hope all is well at home and love you all greatly! Stay strong and wonderful! Praying for all of you! Hurrah for Israel!
Com amor,
Sister Ball

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Part of Your World

Before you all start reading Sister Ball's newest email I wanted to share a bit of another sisters email talking about the sisters first day of proselyting in Sao Paulo.  The missionaries aren't allowed to take pictures when they have free time in Sao Paulo for fear of them seeming like tourists.  Apparently a camera would not be the first indicator that Brianna is not a local!

"Before we left our instructor told us not to speak any English because people would look at us funny. And sure enough right when we got off the bus a very flamboyant man looks at us and yells "Hey how's it going?!" In English. So we continute to have a full conversation with him in English because he wanted to practice with us haha. He said that he knew that we were Americans because of Sister Ball (who is very tall and very blonde), he said that he saw her and knew that she was from another planet! It was so funny, our instructor was totally shaking his head but it was funny."

Ola todo mundo!
Como vai? This week has definitely strengthened my faith in multiple ways. Lots of friends left, but a lot came too and I've been able to make new friendships and strengthen my testimony of the gospel. This last Thursday, a lot of Brazilians reported to the CTM. My district and I were all sitting in class, practicing for proselyting the following Friday when all of the sudden, we heard these explosions. Of course, we all began to freak out, but then we looked out the window and saw a family setting off fireworks as they dropped their son off at the CTM. It was so cute! No idea if that was allowed, but it made us all happy, nonetheless.
One way my faith has been strengthened this week has been through my health. I've been sick for over a week now, with nothing serious at all, but just enough to bug me a little. Last week, I lost my voice for a couple of days, one of those days being our proselyting day in downtown Sao Paulo. Everyone in my district was each given two copies of The Book of Mormon to meaningfully give to people we came in contact with. Even though I couldn't speak, Sister Barker, my companion, was awesome enough to hand out all of our copies. What a miracle! The previous night, I had received a priesthood blessing from the Elders in our district and after proselyting, the one who gave the blessing, Elder Draper, brought to my remembrance that even though I couldn't talk that day, in my blessing, I was told that the people we came in contact with would be able to see and feel my love for them and the gospel. What a comfort that was to me. He also gave me a scripture to read--Alma 29, verse 1. It described how I felt perfectly!
Along with all the new Brazilians who arrived, my companion and I got new Brazilian roommates. They were Sister McKenzie and Sister Sowers, our dear friends, but now it's Sister Almeida and Sister R. Santos. They don't speak any Ingles but I love them so much! Sister Almeida and I are both on the top bunks and we pillow talk every night. Somehow, we're able to understand each other and learn so much about each other. It's going to be hard to say goodbye to them.
Today, I was also able to teach my Australian friend, Sister Cameron, what quesadillas and tacos are. Apparently the most Mexican food-thing she's ever heard of are enchiladas and burritos. Who knew?! So that was very entertaining. She leaves next week for Joao Pessoa!
Also, thank you so much Mom and Grand Dad for your letters. They made me so so happy and I also loved getting some pictures. I love you all so much and think of you often. I hope life is good up North and that the Lord is blessing your lives. I can see His hand in my life every day and I love it. I'm praying for you all and love you dearly!!
Com amor,
Sister Ball

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Photos of Sister Ball!!!

Sis. Ball upon arriving at the Sao Paulo airport after 24 hours of travel and meeting up with Sis. McKenzie and Sis. Barker
Sis. Ball with the sisters from her district at the book store in Sao Paulo
 Sister Ball and her district upon arriving at the Brazil MTC

Sister Ball and her District at the Sao Paulo Temple

It's a Beautiful New Day ... hey-ey-ey!

Ola amigos!
I hope all is well back home and in the U.S. or wherever you might be! Life here couldn't be better. I absolutely love it here.
Primary class! Katie, Keeley, Toria, Brynne and Brooke, I hope you girls are doing well! I just wanted to let you know that I brought the purple troll here, just as you all wished, and everyone loves her. One of my sister friends and I have named her Mouri McBall. Even our teachers love Mouri. She makes everyone smile!
This past week has been great. It all started when I was pretty sad about a bunch of friends leaving and wasn't getting any mail. The next morning, we all went to check our mail and there was one letter in there. It was addressed to a particular Sister Ball. As I read it, I discovered that the Elders in my district had been kind enough to write me a letter! They are so kind. I am seriously blessed with the best district ever and I wish I had time to go into detail about how great each missionary is. That would probably be a little boring for you though, so luckily, I don't have time.
This past weekend was also General Conference, a time during which modern prophets, apostles and other leaders of our church speak to us. We tuned in to it and I learned so much. First of all, we watched Music and the Spoken Word. It was fabulous to see good ol' Lloyd Newell's face on that screen. He was my Living Prophets teacher down at BYU and I loved his class. Anyways, General Conference was great! It's crazy to think that a year ago, the age to go on missions had been lowered and I was crying my eyes out (from joy), thinking about how soon I could now serve a mission. I had no idea that in a year, I would be in Brazil though. What a blessing it has been! During the Relief Society broadcast, the sister missionaries from the Provo Missionary Training Center all sang in the choir and I spotted my friend, Sister Kimball. That was exciting as well! Something that amazed me from conference happened in the first session. I went in to conference with three questions, one of them being "how can I develop more meekness?" Literally, the second talk given was all about how to become more meek. It was an answer to my prayers!
Another thing that I absolutely loved from General Conference was something Elder Christofferson said in his talk. It was four simple words--"she was love personified." Right when he said that, I immediately felt this incredible desire to become that. I want to be someone that just overflows with love. Love for nature, love for people, love for life, love for being a missionary, love for everything. So that is now my lifelong goal--to become "love personified." There were so many great thoughts shared and I hope you all can go back and study the words that were said this last weekend. I love you all and am so grateful for each of you. I think of you all often and pray for your wellbeing every day. Thank you for being such great examples to me of love and support. Hurrah for Israel!
Tchau com amor,
Sister Ball

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

... I Have Been Changed for Good

Oi familia e amigos!
First off, in my last e-mail, I may have typed "Eu seu. . ." If I did, please just change it to "Eu sei..." That would make a huge difference! Also, I want to apologize if I don´t respond to your e-mails. I try to read all of them, but I usually do not have time to answer every single one, so I´ll try my best to answer them all in this one big one. They don´t give a ton of time here in the CTM. If you want answers, write letters and I´ll be sure to write back! :)
I just want to also thank my family, Sister Geddes, Uncle Troy and Aunt Katie (and family), Britt, The Howard Bunch, Coley, and Aunti Kanga for the letters you gave my mom to give to me. I read one a day until I read them all and they made my first week so much easier! I love you guys!
Random delightfulness:
1. Brazilians love mini Cadbury eggs. Okay, who doesn´t, but Sydney, thank you. I´ve made a lot of friends through those things!
2. The traffic here is craaaazy. Yet somehow, everyone seems to survive it on a daily basis.
3. Also, I knew blonde hair would be a big hit, but I didn´t know how big. I can´t tell you how many times sisters have come up and just started petting my hair. I´ve been called Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Barbie, you name it. It´s funny and they´re all so cute!
4. In choir practice, the past two times we´ve sung hinos in Portugues, English and Spanish. I´ve loved it!
5. There are lots of fun places here, but Mr. Cheney cookies is probably the best. Their cookies are delicious!
My district here is fantastic. There are four sisters, three elders and then we´re getting a new Elder from Provo today. I seriously couldn´t be blessed with a better group of people to work with.
I´ve also developed such a love for these people. This last week was so stinkin´ hard because a ton of Brazilians left and I knew most of them. I was super duper close with most of them! I know they´re out fulfilling the Lord´s work, but that doesn´t make it much easier to say goodbye! And that was after only a week and a half. I can´t imagine what it´s going to be like in the future.
If you want a great scripture to look up, go to Doctrine and Covenants 98:1-3. It´s such a comfort knowing that the Lord truly does hear our prayers!
Well, it´s already time to go. I´m sorry I don´t have time to answer everyone´s questions, but that doesn´t change how much I love each of you. I feel so blessed to know each of you and can feel your prayers working miracles each day in my life. I hope all is well at home and wherever else you might be. Hurrah for Israel!
Tchau with love,
Sister Ball